HOW WE CAME TO BE
Happy Snappers Adelaide was born out of the idea to allow others that live with mental health challenges to easily be able to have the same experiences of enjoyment, Mindfulness, creativity and self-expression that Alex (the founder of Happy Snappers Adelaide) has experienced for many years now through his photography. Specifically, the use of a digital camera to experience Mindful Photography. Studies have proven the efficacy of using a camera (not a mobile-phone) and the Mindful process this induces on the user! Knowing how healing the photographic journey was for himself sparked an intense desire to share this wellbeing experience with others.
As time has gone on, the focus on offering this unique service solely to those that experience mental health challenges has shifted to offering and delivering this to the broader community as a regular wellbeing activity and immersion in Nature.
There will be two more programmes held in the future, solely for those living with mental health challenges in their lives.
Through the use of a digital camera, you are given a myriad of opportunities to express yourself visually. Things like being able to select how much of an image is in focus, how the light will play on the scene or object, exactly what is in focus, the ability to zoom in on something, and much more is offered by a digital camera. These are things that a mobile phone can not really offer.
Guidance in the use of a digital camera can allow the user the ability to experience mindful photography, leaving the world, its intrusions and distractions behind as they immerse themselves in observation, exploration and stillness. Studies have shown that this is an easily accessed state of being through the use of a camera. I have cited some studies and web postings about this on my “Benefits” page.
An understanding of the benefits that using photographic equipment allows in regards to the explorations and storytelling possible through photography created a need for cameras, lenses, tripods and flashes. The easiest and quickest way for Alex to get this equipment, so that various Community and Mental Health Organisations across Southern Adelaide could make use of it and his knowledge was to reach out to his photographic contacts across the world. That others also believed in the potential of such a Mindful Photography service and the possibility of improving the participants lives through photographic means is amazing to Alex.
With a past history of delivering training through organisations such as the Adelaide WEA and TAFESA in combination with having experienced mental health recovery assisted greatly by photography, Alex is passionate about sharing this wellness activity and creative exploration with others in simple and easy to digest ways.
Dreaming big, Alex had a vision of sharing the ability to explore Mindful Photography as achieved through the use of digital cameras with others. He provides photographic equipment, his knowledge and assistance through various Community and Mental Health Organisations around Southern Adelaide.
This is based on his personal experience of Mindfulness whilst using an actual camera, and also on studies that have proven the positive benefits of Mindfulness that this process offers. More details about this can be found on our “Benefits” page.
An idea of having enough photographic equipment for eight participants to explore and discover the joys and benefits of photography has come to fruition quicker than Alex ever expected, thanks to the amazing and selfless donations of equipment and finance that have been offered to Happy Snappers Adelaide from all around the world!
Sharing his passion, enjoyment and excitement for photography through simple explorations of many techniques, styles and methods will surprise the participants in what they can achieve even if they have never picked up a camera before in their lives! Nurturing this learning and exploration of photography within the participants is assisted through the use of a broad range of cameras and equipment, with them ranging from full-on DSLR’s to the smaller and much lighter Micro-Four-Thirds format cameras. There’s a camera for every need that could be experienced, from poor eyesight and limited dexterity to chronic body movement, all of these situations can easily be overcome through the use of the right type of camera for the participants. Working from a tripod, for example, with assistance in framing up subjects or landscapes and in the camera operation allows all participants to achieve their photographic goals, regardless of physical limitations.
Working in conjunction with various groups and their facilitators, listening to their wants and needs, sessions can be tailored for the best experience. A constantly evolving group is a self-empowering experience for the participants, allowing them to take ownership of the groups direction and activities. The best feature of working with a diverse range of participants is the broad range of suggestions and desires that they present, when asked! Through listening to this, programs can be arranged that are tailored to the participants needs, whether that be working through themes for particular time periods, mixing up techniques week after week for diversity and broad experiences, working inside or heading off outside.
Inside activities can be arranged easily and quickly when poor weather is too big a challenge to head outside.